MIAMI (AP) – Meyers Leonard of the Miami Heat used an anti-Semitic slur while playing a video game that was being livestreamed, prompting both the team and the NBA office to quickly open investigations into the matter.
The video began circulating widely on social media Tuesday afternoon. The Heat, who were in the final day of their All-Star break and are not formally resuming practice until Wednesday, had no immediate comment.
“We just became aware of the video and are in the process of gathering more information,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said. “The NBA unequivocally condemns all forms of hate speech.”
Leonard, a 7-foot center in his ninth NBA season, sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in January and appeared in only three games for the Heat this year. He could become a free agent this summer; the Heat hold a team option on him for next season worth about $10 million.
This is the second time in recent months that Leonard has been at the center of a controversy.
Most players and coaches chose to kneel last summer for the playing of the U.S. and Canadian national anthems when the NBA season resumed inside a bubble at Walt Disney World in Central Florida. Leonard stood instead, his hand over his heart, and did so with the support of Heat teammates.
“I am a compassionate human being and I truly love all people,” Leonard told The Associated Press at that time.
He added in that AP interview last summer, “I will continue to use my platform, my voice and my actions to show how much I care about the African American culture and for everyone. I live my life to serve and impact others in a positive way.”
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